Sunday, August 26, 2012

Molasses-Mustard Barbecued Chicken

You know the sliver of barbecued food that was showing in the spoonbread photo? It was this chicken. If you have a tomato allergy, this one is for you since there's no tomato to be found in this one unlike most barbecued chicken recipes. If you don't want to do the spoonbread yourself, the recipe description recommends serving with a potato salad and corn on the cob. If you do a potato salad, try this one.

Oh, and like any recipe that calls for grilling, I adapted and overcame by using the broiler.

Molasses-Mustard Barbecued Chicken
adapted from Cooking Club of America
click to print

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/3 c molasses
3 tbsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp thyme
1 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; with flat side of meat mallet, pound to flatten chicken to 1/2 inch.

I don't have a meat mallet; instead of using a rolling pin like I used to, I used the bottom of a flat-bottomed 1-cup bowl. It fits in my hand pretty well and the flat bottom does the job.

In shallow* glass or ceramic baking dish, stir together molasses, mustard, honey, thyme, vinegar, oil, salt and crushed red pepper.

*Why, oh why, do recipes insist on using a shallow container to marinate stuff in? It doesn't make any sense! If the dish is shallow, the liquid spreads more thinly, the meat will be sticking out of the marinade like a whale in a kiddie pool. What you need is a tall, narrow container so that the meat will displace the liquid volume, forcing it upward, covering all of the meat. Am I missing something here?

Add chicken, turning to coat both sides. Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.

I wish I had a taller, narrower dish.

Heat broiler; line broiler rack with foil if you like. Remove chicken from barbecue sauce; reserve sauce. Broil chicken 4 to 6 inches from flame 8 to 10 16-18 minutes or until no longer pink in center, turning once and brushing with sauce halfway through.

Marinated chicken breasts broiled 10 minutes.

Chicken breasts flipped and brushed with reserved marinade.

Chicken broiled 7 minutes.

Discard remaining sauce.

The molasses carmelizing as the chicken broiled was almost overwhelming, yet delicious-smelling. Checking it mid-way through the broiling time, I was quite happy with how the chicken was turning out: dark in spots nearest the flame, though not burned. Brushing with more marinade really laid the sugars on thick resulting in the chicken looking quite charred. Sugar is amazing that way.

As for the chicken, I probaby could've reduced the cooking time by a couple of minutes. Having neglected the fact that it was pounded thin, my chicken was just slightly dry. Flavor-wise though it was sweet with a hint of spicy. While good, it doesn't beat out this no-tomato barbecued chicken.

  • chicken breast halves: $0.86
  • 1/3 c molasses: $1, SWAG 
  • 3 tbsp whole-grain Dijon mustard: $0.50, SWAG
  • honey: $0.15
Total: $2.51 or about $0.63 for each of four servings.

FYI, I calculated the chicken breast cost based on an estimated mass of 17.4 oz from whole birds purchased at $0.79/lb. I came up with the mass estimate based on the total mass of the birds and the final mass of the breasts of these birds. The Scientific Wild-Ass Guesses on the molasses and mustard most assuredly more than cover those and the other items.